The Reading

A Flash Fiction by Kristen DiLandro

“All of this time you have been living your life like a Taurus.”

Rita, the astrologer shook her head at me from the 12 x 10-inch rectangle that connected to the keyboard resting on my lap. I first noticed her shiny, light hair, then her flawless skin with her ruddy cheeks. But the view through her window out across the San Francisco Bay stole my attention. The bright California sun lit up her office. Depending on how she turned, the backlighting made Rita look like an illuminated silhouette. The sun’s golden rays surrounded her like an angel. She looked like she wore a glowing halo. Then when she turned to the opposite side, her delicate features morphed into an unsettling mix of shadows. 

“You’ve got so much Gemini in your chart. Mercury is vibrating next to your sun and you have this fascinating duality that makes it hard to be you, doesn’t it?”

Our mutual friend, Pia, paid for my reading. Pia’s a conceptual artist who has too much Air in her chart. She needs some Earth. Taurus is an Earth sign. Taurus gets things done, does things well. Pia and I discussed working together in a creative capacity. Rita is sure that Pia and I are “karmically connected.”

She keeps asking questions which help explain planets, houses and suns or moons. I want to answer correctly. I want to do everything right.

“What a fraud?” is the phrase that flashes through my mind. I question how I ever made it this far in life. I have been living as a Taurus and my spirit has to manifest into its entire Taurus self over the course of my life. I have been doing this all wrong. All of my compulsive monthly check-ins with the Susan Miller Astrology Zone website, all of the Buzzfeed Quizzes about who my 1970’s folk rock persona would have been–based on my astrological sign, all of the outfit of the day quizzes on Refinery 29, all of it; I’d been living a lie. I’d been wearing tomboy chic as a Taurus when my life as a Gemini called for tunic glam.

I have so much Gemini in my chart that I’m basically composed from the same cosmic dust as Kanye West or Angelina Jolie. This leaves me befuddled. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler comprise the triad of “prominent Taurus” personalities according to Google. So many obvious differences set the world’s Wests and Jolies apart from its “The Rocks,” Feys and Poehlers that listing them all seems like a waste of time for all of us.  Just imagine my surprise; I had spent my entire life believing I was an Amy. Now, March 20th, 2021, I learned that I was actually an Angelina! No wonder I’ve wandered through this life in a haze.

Rita tilts her head, furrows her brows, and places her hand over her heart when she nods empathetically at me.  

“It’s a lot. You are a walking contradiction. People don’t understand you.”

I love this woman. Rita unknowingly validated my romantic notion of self as an impossible loner. I remember the emotional outbursts of my adolescence. Stomping my feet, slamming doors, and declaratively shouting, “You just don’t understand me!” Now, I get it. How could anyone have understood me when I didn’t even understand myself?

“Totally!” I nod back, “that is totally my truth,”

I know. You have these forces working together and against one another. It’s like pushing down two keys next to each other on a piano,” she starts, “yeah, they’re together but they aren’t compatible when you strike down on them at the same time.”

“I feel that.”

We don’t proceed with a “where will I go from here?” conversation. But I can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the new life I’m going to live.

“From now on,” I tell myself, “You have to read the Taurus AND the Gemini horoscopes!” I wag a mental finger at my brain.

Rita has gifted me a new lease on life. I secretly hope that with each new month of astrological due diligence I’ll be struck sexier since being a funny girl is a Taurus thing. Starting all over again as a Gemini sounds like swapping out an old fragrance for an exciting new perfume.

Rita and I go back to talking about how amazing Pia is before blowing each other kisses and hitting “leave meeting.” I have two sets of feelings after our session ends. First, I feel grateful for the new cosmic insights. Second, a yearning to change everything in my life overwhelms me: my wardrobe, my hair, my ideas about myself, all of it must go NOW. Then I sit and think.

“What a fraud?” How did I ever make it this far in life?

Kristen DiLandro goes by Kiki; and while she feels like her life is lived primarily in the realm of the internet, her San Francisco rent reminds her she is actually sleeping under a California sky. Her most recent work was published by New Feathers Anthology. She writes a newsletter called “Aspiring to hate you less.” Kiki is working toward an MFA in Creative Writing at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

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  1. The whole conflicting imagery created through a girl’s blind trust in astrology is very interesting. And just the right dash of humor. Not a dull moment. 🙂

  2. I love this! Love this image of the mental finger wagging at her brain, and her hilarious moment of overwhelm (and excitement) over the new life she is about to live 🙂 Also love the line about the same “cosmic dust” as Kanye and Jolie.

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